Cerber ransomware carefully encrypts your files using a military-grade algorithm. It communicates its explanation on what has happened to your data in the file named as follows: READ_THI$_FILE_%random%_.
Its extension varies and includes three basic types: hta, jpeg, txt. $ instead of S in the file name of the ransom note is what any user concerned can see as a distinct trait for the ransomware. There are also lots of techie modifications. Therefore, IT security considers the Cerber release as a stand-alone strain of the ransomware.
The rogue applies a sophisticated workflow so that the victims stand no chance of intercepting the decryptor. The Cerber ransomware does not drop the decryption key to the device affected by its malicious encryption. Naturally, there is a zero chance of intercepting the decryption key from the communication run by the extortion virus.
Even if a victim manages to take hold of the tool that scrambles, that does not release that tool that unscrambles. You cannot compute the decryption key by any plausible means. In theory, complex and long computations may calculate the decryption key. However, such operations would take longer than any predictable human lifespan, even if you harness the most powerful computer created by humanity.
_READ_THI$_FILE_%random%_ contains initial instructions. This notifies the users that the Cerber has hit the files on the device concerned. Further action requires installing TOR browser so as to ensure anonymity of the parties to the communication. The victim proceeds to the page that requires purchasing a specific amount of bitcoin. The sum is payable to the wallet indicated by the hackers, which cashes out in a pretty sophisticated way. The amount varies, yet seldom falls below the threshold of 1 BTC. During recent months, 1 BTC has converted to USD at a rate around 1,000 USD/BTC.
Paying the ransom provides further incentives to the crooks behind the Cerber ransomware. Meanwhile, any payments do not ensure a proper release of the decryptor.
There is a comprehensive recovery guidance for the victims of Cerber. Should the ransomware hit your data, give a try to the ransom-free options below.
Automatic removal of Cerber ransomware
The benefits of using the automatic security suite to get rid of this infection are obvious: it scans the entire system and detects all potential fragments of the virus, so you are a few mouse clicks away from a complete fix.
- Download and install recommended malware security suite
- Select Start Computer Scan feature and wait until the utility comes up with the scan report. Proceed by clicking on the Fix Threats button, which will trigger a thorough removal process to address all the malware issues compromising your computer and your privacy.
Restore files locked by Cerber file virus
new Locky variant aka Cerber ransomware represents a unique category of malicious software whose attack surface reaches beyond the operating system and its components, which is why removing the virus itself is a part of the fix only. As it has been mentioned, it encrypts one’s personal information, so the next phase of the overall remediation presupposes reinstating the files that will otherwise remain inaccessible.
Launch data recovery software
Similarly to the rest of its fellow-infections, Cerber file virus most likely follows an operational algorithm where it erases the original versions of the victim’s files and actually encrypts their copies. This peculiarity might make your day, because forensics-focused applications like Data Recovery Pro are capable of restoring the information that has been removed. As the virus further evolves, its modus operandi may be altered – in the meanwhile, go ahead and try this.
Take advantage of Volume Shadow Copy Service
This technique is based on using the native backup functionality that’s shipped with Windows operating system. Also referred to as Volume Snapshot Service (VSS), this feature makes regular backups of the user’s files and keeps their most recent versions as long as System Restore is on. Cerber ransomware hasn’t been found to affect these copies therefore the restoration vector in question is strongly recommended. The two sub-sections below highlight the automatic and manual workflow.
- a) Use Shadow Explorer
Shadow Explorer is an applet that provides an easy way of retrieving previous versions of files and folders. Its pro’s include an intuitive interface where the computer’s entire file hierarchy is displayed within one window. Just pick the hard disk volume, select the object or directory to be restored, right-click on it and choose Export. Follow the app’s prompts to get the job done.
- b) Use file properties
Essentially, what the above-mentioned Shadow Explorer tool does is it automates the process that can otherwise be performed manually via the Properties dialog for individual files. This particular approach is more cumbrous but just as effective as its software-based counterpart, so you can proceed by right-clicking on a specific file, which has been encrypted by Cerber file virus, and selecting Properties in the context menu. The tab named Previous Versions is the next thing to click – it displays available versions of the file by date of the snapshot creation. Pick the latest copy and complete the retrieval by following the prompts.
Data backups work wonders
Ransomware like Cerber file virus isn’t nearly as almighty and destructive in case you run regular file backups to the cloud or external data media. The virus itself can be completely removed in a matter of minutes, and the distorted information can then be just as easily recovered from the backup. Luckily, this is a growing trend, so ransom Trojans are hopefully going to become less subversive in the near future.
Verify thoroughness of the removal
Having carried out the instructions above, add a finishing touch to the security procedure by running an additional computer scan to check for residual malware activity